world cup 1986

The 1986 FIFA World Cup was the thirteenth FIFA World Cup and was held in Mexico between 31 May to 29 June 1986. Mexico were the first country to host the FIFA World Cup for a second time. The tournament was won by Argentina, who claimed their second title defeating West Germany 3–2 in the final in the Estadio Azteca, Mexico City.

Host selection

Colombia were the only country who expressed an interest in hosting the 1986 FIFA World Cup, a bid which was ratified at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on 9 June 1974. However, following the expansion to a 24-team tournament, Colombia withdrew on 5 November 1982 citing financial reasons.

Following a request of interest by FIFA, three bids were received from Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.

In a meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee in Zürich, Switzerland on 20 May 1983, Mexico's bid won a unanimous vote to become hosts.

One hundred and twenty one1 countries entered the qualifying competition.

The hosts, Mexico, and the defending champions, Italy, qualified automatically. Of the remaining 22 places, 12 were allocated to Europe (UEFA), four to South America (CONMEBOL), one to the North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF), two to Africa (CAF) and two place to the Asian (AFC) whilst one qualifier from UEFA would face one Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) team in an intercontinental play off for the final place.

Israel and Chinese Taipei would play in the OFC qualifying campaign.


Thirty three European teams entered the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Holders, Italy, qualified automatically for the tournament and the remaining 32 teams were divided into 7 groups.

Groups 1, 5 and 7 had 4 teams each where the group winners would qualify. The runners-up of Groups 1 and 5 would advance to the UEFA Play-offs, while the runner-up of Group 7 would advance to the UEFA / OFC Intercontinental Play-off.

Groups 2, 3, 4 and 6 had 5 teams each. The group winners and runners-up would qualify.

Wales were placed in Pot C as third seeds and were drawn in Group 7 alongside Spain, Scotland and Iceland.

Uefa qualifying Group 7

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
38912/09/1984Iceland 1-0 Wales Laugardalsvöllur, ReykjavikWCQ
39017/10/1984Spain 3-0 Wales Estadio Benito Villamarín, SevillaWCQ
 17/10/1984Scotland 3-0 Iceland Hampden Park, GlasgowWCQ
 14/11/1984Scotland 3-1 Spain Hampden Park, GlasgowWCQ
39114/11/1984Wales 2-1 IcelandM Thomas, M HughesNinian Park, CardiffWCQ
 27/02/1985Spain 1-0 Scotland Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, SevilleWCQ
39327/03/1985Scotland 0-1 WalesRushHampden Park, GlasgowWCQ
39430/04/1985Wales 3-0 SpainRush (2), M HughesRacecourse Ground, WrexhamWCQ
 28/05/1985Iceland 0-1 Scotland Laugardalsvöllur, ReykjavikWCQ
 12/06/1985Iceland 1-2 Spain Laugardalsvöllur, ReykjavikWCQ
39610/09/1985Wales 1-1 ScotlandM HughesNinian Park, CardiffWCQ
 25/09/1985Spain 2-1 Iceland Estadio Benito Villamarín, SevilleWCQ

Group standings

Wales and the 1986 World Cup

Wales were placed in Pot C as third seeds and were drawn in Group 7 alongside Spain, Scotland and Iceland. The Group Winners would qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico with the runners-up facing an Intercontinental Play-off with the winners of the OFC qualifiers.

Wales' campaign got off to the worst possible start with a June fixture in Reykjavik which saw Iceland pull off a shock 1-0 win. A 3-0 defeat to Spain in Seville saw Wales' qualifying hopes hanging by a thread after just two matches.

An uninspiring victory over Iceland at Ninian Park followed by a hard fought victory over Scotland at Hampden Park, Glasgow meant Spain, Scotland and Wales were separated only by goal difference, albeit with Spain having a game in hand.

A 3-0 victory over Spain at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground in a game which saw Pat van den Hauwe make his debut and saw Mark Hughes score arguably one of Wales' most famous goals put qualification firmly in Wales' hands.

The game at the Racecourse was the last of Spanish goalkeeper, Luis Arconado's 68 caps for his country. A cruciate ligament injury playing for Real Sociedad saw him lose his place to fellow Basque, Andoni Zubizarreta.

The final game against Scotland was originally announced to ake place at the Arms Park, Wales' national rugby stadium, but following the Heysel Stadium disaster, the WRU pulled out of the deal and the FAW opted to play at Cardiff's Ninian Park rather than the players' preferred Racecourse Ground.

A victory against the Scots would guarantee Wales at least a play-off place but a controversial penalty for the visitors secured a 1-1 draw and the point Scotland required to clinch the play-off place for themselves.

The evening ended in real tragedy as legendary Scottish manager, Jock Stein, suffered a heart attack and died at Ninian Park.

Spain's victory over Iceland in their final match saw them qualify for the World Cup Finals in Mexico whilst Scotland progressed to a two-legged play off agianst Australia, winners of the Oceania qualifiers.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used a total of 20 players during the qualifying campaign with Neville Southall and Kevin Ratcliffe being the only two players to play every minte of every game.

Pat Van Den Hauwe made his debut in the match against Spain at the Racecourse, Wrexham.

Clayton Blackmore     7
Jeremy Charles309050   
Alan Curtis 90    
Alan Davies90 90   
Gordon Davies60     
Mark Hughes909090909083
Kenny Jackett90 9090 90
Robbie James909090909080
Joey Jones90  90 90
Jeff Hopkins90 40   
Steve Lovell     10
Peter Nicholas 90 909090
David Phillips 9090909090
Kevin Ratcliffe909090909090
Ian Rush  90909090
Neil Slatter9090909090 
Neville Southall909090909090
Mickey Thomas905990909090
Pat Van Den Hauwe    9090
Nigel Vaughan 31    


1Of the 121 countries who entered Barbados, Grenada, Lebanon, Lesotho, Oman, Niger and Togo withdrew whilst Jamaica were expelled and Iran were disqualified for refusing to play matches at a neutral venue.

22 pts for a win / 1 pt for a draw